News Release

NightHawk Radiology Selects Cisco Unified Computing System to Increase Business Agility, Lower Data Center Costs

Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus Solutions Help NightHawk Radiology Provide Mission-Critical Healthcare Radiology Services to 26 percent of U.S. hospitals
Jul 27, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif. - July 27, 2010 - NightHawk Radiology Services, which provides high-quality, cost-effective services to approximately 1,600 healthcare sites – including 26 percent of all U.S. hospitals – has selected the Cisco Unified Computing System® as a highly available and scalable platform for the company's new main data center, which consolidates many smaller server sites around the country into a single primary site.  NightHawk Radiology processes 3 million radiology studies per year with an average turnaround time of under 20 minutes per study, uses the flexible architecture of the Cisco Unified Computing System and its virtualized environment to support its goal of providing best in class radiology services and ensuring patients receive timely service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The Cisco Unified Computing System unites computational, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single energy efficient system that reduces IT infrastructure costs and complexity, helps extend capital assets and improves business agility.

In addition to its impact on customer-facing services, deploying the Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus 5000 data center switches has resulted in lower costs, easier management, and improved business agility for NightHawk Radiology.  With the new system, the IT team reduced servers by 50 percent, reduced the time needed to deploy and manage servers by 80 percent, reduced cabling infrastructure by a factor of five, and can provision servers in just 20 minutes.


  • NightHawk provides a complete suite of high-quality, cost-effective solutions, including professional services, and an advanced, proprietary clinical workflow technology, to increase efficiencies and improve the quality of patient care. NightHawk's team of U.S. board-certified, state-licensed and hospital-privileged physicians provide radiology healthcare services around the clock, and require a mission-critical data center to support timely information delivery.
  • NightHawk has configured eight Cisco Unified Computing System blades as VMware ESX servers, each hosting approximately 10 virtual machines, with plans to double the number of virtual machines in the future. NightHawk also uses the Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch, a software switch that operates inside the VMware ESX hypervisor to give the network team complete visibility into the virtual machine environment for easier management.
  • NightHawk Radiology has deployed a full suite of Cisco data center solutions. In addition to the Cisco UCS and Nexus 5000 Series data center switches, the company also deployed Cisco Nexus 2000 Series Fabric Extenders, Cisco MDS storage switches, and the Cisco Catalyst® 4900 Series switch as part of the overall infrastructure.  These solutions will enable NightHawk to deploy unified fabric in the data center that is more cost-effective, lower in  power and cooling demands, and easier to manage.
  • Cisco Services and World Wide Technology supported the project with design, planning and deployment to help NightHawk achieve its goal to design a next-generation system that scales easily and provides investment protection. In addition to the Cisco data center technologies, the solution includes a VMware virtual environment and NetApp storage infrastructure.    
  • The Cisco Unified Computing System enables NightHawk to achieve: 
    • Competitive Differentiation through High Availability: The Cisco Unified Computing System delivers the high availability that is crucial in an industry where server outages not only cause revenue loss, but also delay delivery of critical patient care. The ease of moving virtual machines between servers helps ensure adequate compute capacity between midnight and 5:00 a.m., when the company receives three-quarters of its images. Server operating system upgrades can be quickly achieved by moving virtual machines to a different blade, and moving them back after.  With UCS, Nighthawk no longer has to postpone software updates out of concern for reduced production capacity.
    • Simplified Management: Using the Cisco Unified Computing System Manager service profiles, an administrator can change an operating system configuration and then apply it to multiple server blades at the same time, saving time and reducing configuration errors. Firmware upgrades are easier as well, because the IT team simply attaches the upgrade to the template, and then Cisco UCS Manager automatically updates all server blades associated with that template. This means the IT team can update all servers in just 30 minutes compared to the 20 hours required previously.
    • Lower Costs: NightHawk has made significant cost savings through the need to maintain fewer physical servers as well as halving the number of cables and network interfaces needed to support virtualization. This means more of NightHawk's power and cooling budgets can be used on servers. 
    • Increased Business Agility: The Cisco Unified Computing System Manager has decreased the time needed to deploy and manage servers by 80 percent, while also increasing stability and availability.


  • "Systems availability is a paramount concern in our industry as server outages, even brief ones, can prohibit the delivery of patient care. Because medical practitioners and patients depend on our systems to be 100 percent reliable, we looked for technology with the highest level of redundancy and resiliency. With the Cisco Unified Computing System and Nexus solutions, we've experienced extremely high availability, coupled with lower costs and simplified management.   Cisco UCS delivers the high availability we need to attract and retain customers."
  • - Ken Brande, Vice President, IT, NightHawk Radiology Services


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